By Thor

Canada’s legendary death metal innovators, Cryptopsy, return with a new self-titled album.Cryptopsy’s early albums, “Blasphemy Made Flesh” and “None So Vile” took the early death metal aesthetic of bands like Morbid Angel and Deicide, and upped the ante of technical musicianship.  They did so while orchestrating a frenetic, chaotic style and the results were simultaneously breath-taking and pulverizing.  The band’s infamous front man on those albums, known to sickos around the world as Lord Worm, left the band following “None So Vile”, and Cryptopsy was never the same.
Having earned an exorbitant amount of metal-capital on the quality of those early albums, the band released a series of somewhat underwhelming albums in the following years, largely succeeding by virtue of that capital.  This included a brief reunion with Lord Worm in 2005 and myriad members coming and going.  Unfortunately, the capital ran dry on their last album, “The Unspoken King”, a cynical attempt to sell records by releasing what is essentially a metalcore/deathcore album and exploiting the mall-friendly trends of the day.  Needless to say, the fan reaction was “None So Friendly”.

Regarding 2012’s self-titled release, “Cryptopsy”, both the title of the album and the contents therein signify that Cryptopsy has hit the reset button.  This album is a back-to-basics (only in relative terms of course), bare bones death metal storm.  Current vocalist, Matt McGachy, employs a proper death metal technique throughout and as expected, the song compositions and musicianship are of an extremely high level, most notably the drumming of ‘90s death metal drum deity Flo Mounier.  The album features eight tracks of fairly homogenous-sounding brutal death metal with an emphasis on speed.  There are occasional nods to modern death aesthetics while always staying grounded in the early tech-death style that they helped invent.

“Cryptopsy” includes no weak songs.  It’s a solid, well-produced album, but it does little to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack.  While these guys spent 15 years trying to remember how they burst out of the gates so successfully, the rest of the death metal community caught up with them in terms of ambitious musicality.  Now, Cryptopsy’s collective virtuosity is no longer enough to carry them.  The album works fine on its own merits, and it’s certainly an improvement over their previous several releases.  But having set the bar so high, so early, I can’t help but feel a little indifferent towards this latest effort by a band that should have rewritten the rules of extreme music by now.